Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Iran travel risks and Fan Death

Fan Death is a Korean idea. Some Koreans think that sleeping with a fan on can kill you, either through asphyxiation or hypothermia. I bring it up not because it's silly, but because it's something that some people fear (aided by the media), while others can't imagine it being scary.
EDIT: a much better example is skydiving. Statistically not risky, though it seems risky, because jumping out of a plane!

So here I'd like to address some of the possible fears associated with Iran travel, and either refute them or reduce them to a risk that I'm already taking. Instead of general fear of Iran, let's concentrate on what it is that we're afraid of.

What could go wrong?

  • Petty crime, getting my things stolen or whatever. I have no reason to believe this is more likely in Iran than in other places, like India.
  • Violent crime. Again, this is no more likely in Iran than elsewhere.
  • Getting caught up in a protest or something. Well, of course I won't be trying to find anything like this; the trouble would be if I stumble into one. Iran is the first place where I'll have a guide, who will know the situation on the ground and help me avoid stumbling into one. (compare to India where there are people protesting stuff all the time.)
  • Iranian government harassing me. I wouldn't be hearing so much "Iran is safe" if there were a possibility that the government would harass me. Unlike those hikers a few months ago, I won't be going near borders or away from my guide. I won't take photos of official things. And again, there's a guide whose job it is to keep me safe.
  • US government harassing me on re-entry; one two sites reporting no problems, or a little badgering but nothing serious.
  • US government harassing me somewhere down the road (e.g. on a "terrorist watch list"). The only reason I have to believe that this would happen is due to someone I haven't met, whose words I've heard only secondhand via a rather exaggerated email.
Other general fears:
Other things that might allay your fears:
Anyway, my point is that I'm not going on some daring trip on a calculated risk because it'll be awesome dude; I'm going on a non-risky trip.

And so I'm asking, if you can provide some evidence that travel to Iran is dangerous, please do. Tell me what I should be afraid of, and provide evidence as to why. The caveat is that this evidence must be fact-based, not vague warnings or what-if worries. If there's no evidence, we might just be arguing about fan death here. (EDIT: or skydiving.)

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